The Magnificent Seven (1960)

“You’re like the wind, blowing over the land and passing on…”

Death hangs heavy over this classic Old West tale, which replaces samurai with gunslingers and knife-throwers.

The men who ride into immortality protecting farmers from bandits are rough, violent dudes of few words — warriors redeemed by one act of courage and sacrifice.

All seven of the “good guys,” from Steve McQueen down to Brad Dexter, have died in real life in the years since director John Sturges had them saddle up.

But, like the characters they played, they live on forever in the movie theaters of our minds.

 

Bullitt

Brakes? Where we’re going, we don’t need brakes.

Steve McQueen punches the pedal through the metal, careening through San Francisco as a maverick cop who can’t be bought, or killed.

Famous for an extended 11-minute car chase which helped win editor Frank P. Keller an Oscar, Bullitt also boasts a memorable music score courtesy Lalo Schifrin.

Toss in a supporting cast which includes Robert Duvall, Jacqueline Bisset, and Robert Vaughn, and top it off with McQueen at his brooding best, and it’s easy to see why this has stood the test of time.

The motor on this one still revs.

 

The Getaway (1972)

All guns blazing.

Rough and ready, Sam Peckinpah’s bullet-riddled tale of bank robbers remains a sterling example of tough guy (and gal) cinema.

Steve McQueen tops the cast as “Doc” McCoy, fresh out of the joint and eager to grab revenge and a few piles of sweet, sweet cash.

Uneasily working with his estranged wife and hampered by sleaze-balls to the left and cold-blooded killers to the right, our anti-hero isn’t exactly a sweetheart.

But then again, who is among this film’s motley collection of no-good-niks?

It was the ’70s man. Dark and devious was the flavor of the day.

Junior Bonner

Hit ’em with the ol’ change-up.

Director Sam Peckinpah and leading man Steve McQueen are best known for rough ‘n rowdy, often violent, films about hardscrabble men slamming head-first into other not-ready-to-move dudes.

But, in this rarely talked-about modern-day western, the duo shifted away from barking guns and squealing car tires.

Instead, they united to make a melancholy tale of a rodeo rider trying to stay one step ahead of his own rapidly-approaching oblivion.

Even the best cowboy can only stay on the horse so long before body and soul gives out.

Saddle up and track this one down.